The Price of Truth

President George Bush and the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives have betrayed America's veterans by failing to provide needed funding for veterans' health care. The chair of the House Veterans' Affairs Committee, Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), told the administration that an additional $2.5 billion is needed to provide medical care for the 103,000 American soldiers who have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Rather than face reality, President Bush and the Republican House leadership punished the Congressmen who exposed gross errors in the Bush budget. Smith was removed from his chairmanship, Rep. Rob Simmons (R-Conn,) lost his chairmanship of the VA Health subcommittee, and Rep. Rick Renzl (R-Ariz.) was removed from the committee.

Firing the messengers, however, did not alter the truth of their statements. Returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan need medical care now, but the Veterans Administration lacks the funds to help them.

While the Bush administration and the Republican led Congress fail to provide health care funding for America's veterans or education funding to meet the mandates of No Child Left Behind, they continue to run up massive deficits with billions spent on pork barrel projects, subsidies for the oil companies and other special interests.

Shouldn't our children and our veterans have priority over oil companies and other pork barrel special interests? Shouldn't public servants who tell the truth, even if it conflicts with Bush administration policies, be honored for their patriotism and candor rather than be ridiculed and punished?

Killing the messenger does not kill the truth.

Bill Creim

La Cañada

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